Monthly Archives: July 2014

How Much History?

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Quite an assortment of you from around the world are either following this blog or have liked it and, I’m sure as I do to others, drop by now and then.

I don’t know if you’ve ever stopped by my site to read my theory on basic research for historical fiction, 50 Books. Everyone who likes writing histfi knows that doing the research can take over your life, which is part of the fun. The 50 Books theory is to guide the neophyte into not missing important areas, and remind the rest of us that, oops, we need to check how the other classes are living or what really goes into getting a meal on the table, or a table with a meal on it, or how long to get from hither to yon, or what the small talk is about.

Along with that, I have some exemplar guides, finished and partial, for myself or researched for others, on different periods I’ve written in, or planned to write in, from 396 BC Peloponnese to WW2 New York. Sometimes it’s the research failures that pulled the plug on the project, and using the 50 Books has helped me figure that out, and where the holes occurred (which doesn’t bring the sources I need into existence). At least one is a project off in the stages of “I need to assemble the research and begin reading”: in this case, I want to make sure I have my gaps filled before I sit down to a shelf-load of books, and especially before buying those expensive Osprey military monographs.

My concern, as I consider revising the list that goes with the theory is — do I have too much history in researching historical fiction?
Read the rest of this entry

Forget the Movie, Give Me the OST

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Some of us love original motion picture scores, and I don’t have to explain that to my fellow addicts. Eighty bucks for a rare Jerry Goldsmith OST CD? Cheap at the price! Okay, that’s a little farther over the edge than some of us. But if you had the money to splurge, you would, too.

It’s not about “I have it and few people do.” That’s a soundtrack collector‘s mindset, a certain competitive completeness. I want to have it to listen to at will. If you gave me a choice, for free, between a full Krull limited edition 2-CD set, and 20 or 30 soundtrack albums that have to be $10 apiece or less, I don’t even have to think about it: I can list a couple dozen off the top of my head that I will take on that offer. Those will give me more happy time than any single complete soundtrack.

A pause to define: There are what they now call soundtracks that are anthologies of pop songs used as soundtracks (that started in the 1970s). I have a few of those, especially when it seems the only way to get some songs or versions of them. Suckerpunch, for example. The covers of songs are great (love of covers is another day’s insanity). But we need to differentiate those from the original soundtrack (OST) or film score. Read the rest of this entry

The Revision Project

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Heaven knows it was useful to me to update my page that gathers all the blogs for the Revision Project. Just a few holes here and there! And maybe someday I’ll get that counting thing straight …

For those of you following that, it may help you catch some you missed, and also explained some apparent non sequiturs.